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Tomorrow, When the War Began (2012)


Average Rating: 5.6/10
Reviews Counted: 55
Fresh: 35
Rotten: 20

Critics Consensus: While the script isn't amazing and the story's race issues linger, this adaptation of John Marsden's book is an exciting, action-heavy adventure that should please fans of the series.

No Top Critics Tomatometer score yet...

Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Counted: 4
Fresh: 2
Rotten: 2


Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 9,409


Movie Info

Tomorrow When the War Began is a pulse-pounding action thriller that follows the journey of eight high school friends in an Australian coastal town whose lives are suddenly and violently upended by an invasion that no one saw coming. Caitlin Stasey stars as 17 year old Ellie Linton, a precocious teen who leads her best friends including Corrie (Rachel Hurd-Wood) and Kevin (Lincoln Lewis) to an isolated, deep in the woods camp site named 'Hell.' Upon returning, they come to grips with the fact … More

Drama , Action & Adventure , Art House & International
Directed By:
In Theaters:
Freestyle Releasing - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Tomorrow, When the War Began

All Critics (57) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (35) | Rotten (20) | DVD (2)

You know the drill: A small group of unsuspecting adventurers wanders into danger, and not all of them will get out alive.

Full Review… | February 23, 2012
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Just fast-moving fun, enough so to gloss over its shortcomings.

Full Review… | February 23, 2012
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

There's a vein of thoughtfulness running beneath the brazenly explosive action highlights and fist-pumping soundtrack, though the suspense does fall prey to some debilitating credibility issues.

Full Review… | April 6, 2011
Time Out
Top Critic

Australia may finally have a homegrown blockbuster on its hands with the terrifically engaging Tomorrow, When the War Began, an action-packed war film for and about teenagers.

Full Review… | September 6, 2010
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

...despite the R-rating, this isn't really a movie for grown-ups, Tomorrow When the War Began can't be completely dismissed as a teen movie either. It's a curious thing, with sleek, fluid action set pieces and moments that approach - then bungle - grace.

Full Review… | April 29, 2012
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

"Tomorrow" is less realistic than "Red Dawn," if you can wrap your head around that without making it pop off.

Full Review… | February 23, 2012
Honolulu Star-Advertiser

a nice combination of high school angst and blockbuster action

Full Review… | February 23, 2012

This is a movie that packs in a lot of very cool action while still addressing its themes intelligently. It's one to seek out.

Full Review… | February 23, 2012
Aisle Seat

Quite a crafty genre mash-up that deserves to find an audience.

Full Review… | February 23, 2012

Undeniably entertaining, but also profoundly silly, making Red Dawn look like a documentary by comparison.

Full Review… | February 22, 2012

So full of stock types and clichés it makes The Breakfast Club look like Nashville.

Full Review… | February 21, 2012
Slant Magazine

A resistance-combatant-primer disguised as a teen-exploitation flick, "Tomorrow When the War Began" delights in guilty pleasures.

Full Review… | February 20, 2012

Despite the far-fetched set-up (and the often clunky dialogue and acting), you'll soon be rooting for the plucky teens.

Full Review… | September 20, 2011
Movie Talk

The door is tantalisingly left open for a sequel, and if it's as enjoyable as this then it won't be an unwelcome one.

Full Review… | July 14, 2011
Digital Spy

American audiences might prefer to see their own country being invaded by Asiatic hordes on the big screen, but Tomorrow, When the War Began is as glossy and slick as any Hollywood production . . .

Full Review… | April 11, 2011
Sci-Fi Movie Page

This is cringe-worthy commercial cinema of the worst kind.

Full Review… | April 10, 2011

Despite some effective moments, the film doesn't begin to compare with Milius's highly sophisticated rightwing movie that gives the Soviet and Cuban invaders their due.

Full Review… | April 10, 2011

Despite some decent acting, the teenagers seem more cardboard than flesh and blood.

Full Review… | April 8, 2011
This is London

It passes the time innocuously enough, but the ingredients for global success are missing.

Full Review… | April 8, 2011
Daily Telegraph

Headline 'serious teen issues' are crammed down our throats in the most inane and unbelievable way imaginable.

Full Review… | April 8, 2011
What Culture

Well worth catching due to believable characters, some great action scenes and a looming sense of threat.

Full Review… | April 8, 2011
Daily Mirror [UK]

Based on a cult teen novel by John Marsden, the picture has some arresting set-pieces but never makes much sense (where is the Australian army?) and only generates sporadic tension.

Full Review… | April 7, 2011
Daily Express

Audience Reviews for Tomorrow, When the War Began


Last year, the remake of the action popcorn cult hit Red Dawn hit theatres, and was disappointing to say the least. The idea of a teen militia fighting an enemy is nothing new, but when it's done right, you can pull off a well crafted film with a cast that can actually act. Although the Red Dawn remake was disappointing, I found it to be a decent film with mindless entertainment value. However with that being said, it was a highly forgettable film. Tomorrow When the War Began on the other hand is a similar film, but it is a better executed movie that has a good cast and a better plot. The film is packed with action and drama and it is a standout film that is sure to please viewers that were let down by the Red Dawn remake. This film has a better cast and a much better script, which makes this a necessity to watch for viewers looking for the perfect entertainment. The film is not perfect, but for the most part, it more than delivers its fair share of thrills. Plus on the other hand, the film is well structured with good characters and a very good plot, better than the Red Dawn remake anyway. I really enjoyed the film, and thought it was a well crafted picture worth checking out. If you love these types of films, don't hesitate to seek this one out, you'll be glad you did. The film could have used a bit more polishing in some areas, but for the most part; it succeeds at being a good film that will highly entertain you from start to finish.

Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

"With all the crap in my life happening right now, I just wanted a simple action flick to ease my mind and not make me think so much. This film succeeded that for me. It wasn't the best film I could have chosen, but it was listed closer to the top of my que on Netflix, so that is what was chosen. The acting is OK. Nothing to write the award shows about. The story wasn't too interesting either. But still it managed to entertain me with it having the essence of "Red Dawn". But not as good. I got into it and that's all that mattered. I needed to be brain dead for awhile and this film succeeded in making that happen. I think it's worth a look at. Plus I think I might have liked it bit more because of all these damn apocalyptic books I've been reading. Still, give it a go if you get a chance."


Super Reviewer


I love the concept and execution of the novel but there were times when I could tell this was created from a young adult series of books. While Red Dawn didn't hold back when it came to the reality of the risk the characters put themselves in this one seems to shy away from it. It's a great start to what could be a great series of films.

Jason Spencer

Super Reviewer


A film about teenagers at war. However, these aren't REAL teenagers in a REAL war. This is all fictional crap, leaving our protagonists as self-obsessed prats, that will chat about kissing boys when they are in the middle of blowing up a bridge. The film is just a teenagers fantasy. Dumb-ass teenagers will come out hoping a war will break out soon. They are able to take out highly trained soldiers, which have just seized a developed country. It doesn't make sense, and this lack of sense leads to huge shifts in tone which collide traumatically. There's some slapstick humor, quickly followed by insane rants about the nature of the soul and life. Even after just 45 minutes these rants come across as out of character. The tension is non-existent. In the right hands, a film like this could have had be biting my finger nails, instead I was clipping them due to boredom. The film also muddles its themes. Is it against war or not? Perhaps this is due to the characters having to muse on such complex questions, but then it all hangs on whether or not the dog will live. A short and subtle moment where Ellie sees a painting of Aborigines doesn't raise any interesting discussions. Instead, they find a bullet-proof rubbish truck and have a high speed chase. Like a child trying to get involved in a debate with an educated adult, this is interesting to watch at first, but ultimately embarrassing.

Luke Baldock

Super Reviewer

Tomorrow, When the War Began Quotes

Fiona Maxwell:
Can I go home yet?
– Submitted by Frances H (9 months ago)
Ellie Linton:
I can't tell if what I did was right or wrong.
– Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
Ellie Linton:
People are dying out there!
– Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)

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